Randy's Ramblings

Monday, May 26, 2003

Memorial Day
Today we celebrated Memorial Day - a day to remember the men and women who have given their lives in the defense of our freedom. Memorial Day used to not mean much of anything to me. I don't know many veterans and I distrust the American government, which significantly diminished any 'patriotic' feelings that I might have otherwise had. I even remember that during my college years I would brag about my 'un-patriotic-ness' on the Fourth of July. I don't know if I was rebelling or if I was just stupid.
Then I met Ken. Ken was a member of my church and he was a veteran of the Korean War. Ken had seen and experienced terrible things. He had lost friends in the war. Ken is a great man of integrity that I have come to respect very much. Ken and I talked on a few occasions about my feelings about patriotism and his feelings about freedom. He taught me a lot about the freedoms that we enjoy here in this country and the extreme cost by which we can enjoy them. Ken never told me that I should be more patriotic or that I had to fly the stars and stripes - he just shared his story with me and asked questions when appropriate. He taught me a lot about freedom - and a lot about myself.
Thanks, Ken. Happy Memorial Day. God bless the men and women who have, and who continue to, defend our freedoms.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

My head's spinning...
I just got back from The Matrix: Reloaded - my head is still spinning! This is an incredibly well done movie that will make you think for a while! Check it out! We saw it in theater 1 at Studio 28 in Grand Rapids, one of the best theaters in west Michigan - a little added bonus!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Where does FUN fit in??
Here's another question that I've been mulling over for a while: Where does FUN fit in to youth ministry?
I like to have fun. Students like to have fun. Most of our volunteers like to have fun. I hope we're having fun!! I guess the question isn't whether or not to HAVE fun - if we're not having some fun, we're all going to grow up and be old, cranky, wrinkly, mean people. I hope I never grow up... So the question in my mind becomes: How much do you program fun?

We had a program called Xtreme Wednesdays for our Junior Highers. I say had because last night was the final meeting of Xtreme Wednesdays - forever. Some Wednesdays were okay - we would play have some time to hang out together, play some organized games and then finish with a short lesson (not the perfect ministry model, I know). Other weeks I had to leave before I strangled one of those precious pre-teens. I have wrestled with the importance of having such a program which was basically programmed fun with a short Bible lesson thrown in. What is the place of a primarily 'fun' program versus a Bible study or small group that is not focused on fun (although I hope they're having fun!).

As I said earlier, I value fun and I certainly hope we're having fun in all that we do. At what point does programming fun turn your youth ministry into a glorified babysitting service? Some students will not walk through our doors if they aren't going to have fun. Other students stay away because they think the games are too childish. Where's the balance? How do you have fun without becoming a social club or a babysitting service? One thing that I have found works in some situations is having fun activities that relate to your purpose and message and help the students understand what you're trying to communicate. Is that the only time we should play games? Is it okay to play just for the sake of having fun - or does every game have to have a 'moral?'

We live in a world that takes itself much too seriously. Many of us have a hard time laughing at ourselves (myself included, although I'm working on it! ;-) ). We need that outlet in our lives to have some fun and enjoy life a little bit. As we seek to journey with students towards a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, I hope we're not simply focused on fun events that 'bring students in.' I hope we're balancing fun with relationships and discipleship and ministry. I guess that is part of the answer for me - there needs to be balance. We can't spend all of our time being serious (I wouldn't be in ministry very long...) and we won't be helping students to know Christ if all we ever do is play games.

Still working to find the balance...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

HM Magazine: Interview with Alice Cooper
"You know, first of all, I do mostly the secular rock. But I think . . . My pastor feels the same way. I am not necessarily praise rock. I'm not Christian praise music. I think that I go to a different place. And I think that Christianity needs to go much more into the secular arts. I think that we need to be heard not just by Christians."

Saturday, May 10, 2003

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Twins for woman with two wombs
A Brazilian woman with two wombs has given birth to healthy twins - one from each womb.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

CNN.com - Connecticut high court says fetus is body part - May. 8, 2003
HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) -- Angering both sides of the abortion debate, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a fetus is a body part, akin to teeth, skin and hair that are eventually shed.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Relevant Magazine: Broken, Body and Soul
When life gets absolutely funky, as mine did in 1997, one can only move in two directions, either away from God or toward Him. It’s safe to say that if you live enough days on this earth, you will encounter some form of hardship; it’s part of living in a fallen world. But we are not left alone to deal with the brokenness.